Album Review: The XCERTS – Hold on to Your Heart

Scottish rock music is doing pretty well at the moment. Bands like Biffy Clyro, Twin Atlantic, and even Mogwai have grown to be some of the most popular bands in the alternative scene. For such a small country, its’ musical output is nothing short of impressive. The XCERTS are another band that have come out of the same music scene, producing fantastic pop-rock with incredible choruses. This is their fourth album already, and it seems that they’re going for an bigger sound than ever.

Opening track ‘The Dark’ is misleading, however, a slow piano ballad that acts more as a prelude to the rest of the album than an actual track. This leaves the rest of the tracklist down to nine songs, potentially too short unless there’s some real quality spread across them. You can make your mind up on your own about it, but I think there is more than enough for these songs to make up a quality album.

This album has two defining qualities, the overall sound, and the choruses. Let’s talk about the first of those.

The sound of the album is somewhat nostalgic, but with super clean production so it still sounds modern enough. The upbeat tracks are energetic and catchy, while the slower ones sound a little more reflective and melancholy. A song that typifies the whole album’s sound is ‘Drive Me Wild’, a song that could easily be fitted to a montage at the end of a film. It sounds upbeat, positive, and melodic, capturing that perfect feeling of triumph and nostalgia. In fact, any song on this album could fit that bill really.

Secondly, the choruses are fantastic. Yet again, they sound both triumphant and nostalgic, save for maybe a couple of songs. But they also sound really catchy. So much so that you’ll be humming them for days after you first listen to this album. Some that particularly stand out are the ones from the title track, and ‘Feels Like Falling In Love’.

This album is incredibly easy to listen to, but don’t mistake that for lack of complexity. Each song seems tailored perfectly to fit where it does in the album. It’s true that the album drops slightly in quality towards the end, but it has already left its mark long before that.

Best songs: Feels Like Falling In Love, First Kiss Feeling, Drive Me Wild

Score: 8/10

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